Sherlock Holmes busied himself at his deal table, concocting some foul-smelling potion. I sat at my desk, staring across the room at my friend's photograph of Irene Adler, wondering how on earth I was to work her into the canon without causing decades of reader speculation on her exact relationship to Holmes. It seemed to me that it would be only slightly less prudent to set aside the adventure of Miss Adler in order to concentrate upon writing the story of the horrendous, disgusting, icky giant squid of Tasmania, for which the world is not yet prepared.
Everything was, therefore, much as usual until Mrs. Hudson came in and announced, "He's here again. Mr. Holmes, you simply must do something about him. It's positively unseemly."
Holmes displayed no emotion whatsoever. He poured his repulsive concoction into a beaker, and held it up to the light, peering at it with a critical eye. "Watson, what does this smell like to you?"
"A fishmonger's boot, slept in by a ferret with revolting personal habits," I said without hesitation.
"Precisely!" my friend exclaimed, clapping his slender white hands—thereby spilling no small amount of the substance on the carpet. "Just as I thought! Whitehead the fishmonger couldn't have killed his rival, Tuna Charlie. If he had been out committing murder last night, his pet ferret would have been unable to sleep in his boot."
How he had arrived at this startling declaration, I could not have said.
Mrs. Hudson failed to be impressed. "That's all very well, Mr. Holmes, but what do you intend to do about him?"
Holmes acknowledged her, although not in a helpful way. "Unrequited love is a subject in which I take no interest, particularly when it is not heterosexual in nature. I myself have no such feelings at all."
Mrs. Hudson paused long enough to interpret the meaning of his remark, then continued, "Be that as it may, you'll have to do something about him. The neighbors are starting to talk."
Holmes gave me a rather pleading look. "Watson, I-"
"You want me to go down there and get rid of him for you, don't you?" I sighed.
"What would I do without you, faithful Watson?"
"Probably get evicted," I muttered on my way down the seventeen steps, pausing to call to Holmes, "Try not to poison Gladstone again, will you?"
Mrs. Hudson followed me into the foyer, all the while explaining, "It isn't that I take issue to this sort of thing personally, Doctor, but it might offend pious or sensitive persons, not to mention the impressionable schoolchildren who-"
"Yes, yes, Mrs. Hudson, I understand completely; that's quite all right, thank you," I said, shooing her into the kitchen in hopes that while there, she might be inspired to forget her troubles by preparing yet another delicious meal.
Then I stood for some time with my hand on the doorknob, gathering my strength. I had never been called upon to turn away an unwanted suitor, and had no idea of how to go about it.
The individual in question stood on the footpath, dark eyes fixed longingly on the window above.
I waited until some sensitive-looking persons and their impressionable child had passed out of earshot, before saying, "We have to talk."
He turned eagerly to me, then, seeing that I was alone, heaved a sigh, managing to look both dejected and hopeful.
"He hasn't come with me," I said. "There's a reason for that. Try to understand. Ever since the-" I winced at the painful recollection. "-unmentionable traumatic episode, he's had no interest in romance. And...well, quite frankly, even if he were capable of such an attachment, you're both male, and that's... I don't mean to be judgmental, but what you have in mind is probably illegal. You wouldn't want to lose your license, would you?"
His deep brown eyes gazed into mine, speaking volumes without a word.
"Oh, for pity's sake, don't look at me like that!" I exclaimed. "I know how you feel. We've all been there. All right, not exactly where you are, but still. You go on cases with us, we work together... It's deuced awkward for you to be in love with him. Can't you just be friends?"
So engrossed was I in my exposition, that I failed to notice Inspector Lestrade had appeared, and was staring at me as if I had lost my mind.
"You are aware you're talking to a dog," he said.
"It's Toby," I explained, patting the mongrel's head. "He seems to have developed a romantic interest in Gladstone, and he keeps coming over here looking for him. I'm trying to discourage him."
"Please don't tell me about it," Lestrade said. "What with my rivalry with Gregson, my funny name, and my active personal life, I don't need any more complications."
Because I'm snarky, that's why.